It is time for Roanoke Rapids City Council to accept the offer of Brown Entertainment in an attempt to put the sordid past of what has been the theater saga behind it.
In meeting Dewey and Leslie Brown, we feel this troubled venue could have brighter days ahead with two accomplished musicians leading the charge as they have done with smaller venues in Liberty and Reidsville.
It has never been in the city’s best interest to manage this venue and we have to give a hardy tip of the hat to those employees who put forth the effort to make sure the few shows that have been held since the debacle have run smoothly.
However, it is time to move forward and let the Browns have their run and bring much needed entertainment to this area as they have done with their venues in Liberty and Reidsville.
While it is a shame that in early 2000 a perfect economic storm whipped up which led to the 2008 recession, it is just as shameful the city itself has taken the brunt of the criticism for the fiasco when the plan was an attempt to ease the burden that occurred when our once thriving textile mills went silent.
In truth, there was ample blame to sprinkle on top of a dessert which has left a bad taste in the mouths of citizens who often cast accusations that this was solely the city’s mistake and that the state, which played its role in the mess, has rarely been called into question.
That is the past and now we have an opportunity to shed ourselves of this building and put it in what we believe will be capable hands.
Call us naive, call us pollyanna, call us wide-eyed optimists, but we don’t think the days of this theater are over yet and we recall that even back in 2011 the conductor of the North Carolina Symphony Orchestra gave glowing accolades about the acoustics of the venue – comparing it to the sounds of New York’s Carnegie Hall.
As we stated then and state now, the building and its acoustic system was designed correctly – delivering more than high-fidelity sound and during that symphony concert it captured the fragile tinkling of sleigh bells and the crisp snap of a whip used to get the reindeer pulling the sleigh through a winter wonderland.
Putting up $650,000 as Tuesday’s proposal from Repute Productions stated, would only lead to another quagmire. It’s not that we don’t trust the ones behind the proposal, it’s simply that a city government trying to address day to day issues shouldn’t be in the music and entertainment business and it’s clear from the proposed organizational chart that would be the case.
Perhaps, however, there are opportunities for Repute and the Browns to work together when and if this deal is settled.
With the potential sale of the theater, the city could be free of the money it’s having to set aside for utilities and have an opportunity to collect property taxes on the venue.
At their Reidsville Showcase venue, the Browns have a full slate of shows which run into early 2024 and at their Liberty Showcase venue it’s the same story.
This building deserves a chance to be a fit for its original intent – an opportunity to bring music to our area, bring visitors to our area and possibly grow that area through retail, commercial and eating establishments which still has a chance to become reality under the right leadership.
While the building has aged, it’s simply not going anywhere with the doors closed and we believe it still has much to offer.
With a couple like the Browns leading the charge we believe the theater could have music reaching its rafters again – Editor